Empty shelves started a movement
One cold night in 2013, a customer visited Dan & Whit’s, grabbed a pile of basic groceries, and at the checkout mentioned that the Haven’s Food Shelf was nearly bare and she planned to donate the food that day. Dan Fraser decided to match that shopper’s generosity and double her food donation to the Haven. That moment sparked an idea: much like the efforts of brand like Ben & Jerry’s and Newman’s Own, Dan & Whit’s could donate 1% of sales for the first 19 days of December to the Upper Valley Haven.
D&W started challenging businesses to participate, joining us in this initiative because 1% isn’t much on its own, but it adds up quickly! We knew that it was difficult for individuals and businesses to donate to yet one more cause so we encouraged each business to create what worked for them, asking customers to collect certain products or choose the size of their donation dollar amount. Plus the local economy would benefit during the holidays—in 2013, over $10,000 was donated to the Haven from Norwich businesses, made possible by over 1 million dollars in local sales that occurred during those first 19 days of December.
Over time, businesses beyond Norwich joined this unique effort to help the Haven combat hunger. The generous spirit and energy throughout the Upper Valley was infectious. Year after year, we have come up with innovative ideas to keep our community shopping local and giving local… and many shoppers continue this mindset beyond the holiday season.
Though the project began as a way to quickly restock the Haven’s Food Shelf, the continued success of this program has allowed us to truly impact the Haven and those it serves in many ways. Many people know the Haven because of the Food Shelf, but their services go far beyond that. They provide:
resources and connections for people who need assistance with food, housing, healthcare, or other critical needs. Haven service coodinators supported 1,485 households in 2016;
adult educational opportunities that will improve people’s lives in the future;
- programs for local children that will help them learn and thrive at no cost to their families;
- and temporary and seasonal shelter for people in the Upper Valley who are facing homelessness.
As we embark on our 5th (!) year of The 19 Days of Norwich (and beyond), we ask for you and your business to commit to joining us in this special initiative—one that encourages residents of VT and NH to give first right of refusal to local businesses, shopping locally before online, and businesses to help give back to their community. We are starting to get the buzz going earlier this year, helping prepare for the best season yet and to get the community ready to visit you.
If we can count on your support—in any form—again this year, please email Ashley at the Upper Valley Haven or go talk to Dan at Dan & Whit’s. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and will keep you posted on the upcoming schedule of events in your neighborhood as December approaches.
Thank you for your support of The 19 Days of Norwich and for keeping it local!